3 Best RV Carbon Monoxide Detectors (Reviews & Comparisons)

Carbon monoxide is one of, if not the biggest danger for RVers.

Fortunately, there are several excellent carbon monoxide detectors that will keep you and your family safe from this silent killer.

In this important post, I will be reviewing and comparing three of our favorite RV carbon monoxide detector models. Plus, help you choose the best one for your needs.

RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Comparison

DescriptionAwardPrice
Editor’s Choice First Alert RV Approved Carbon Monoxide Alarm First Alert RV Approved Carbon Monoxide Alarm (CO250RVA)Best Battery-Powered CO AlarmSEE PRICE »
Safe-T-Alert RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Safe-T-Alert RV Carbon Monoxide Detector (65-542-WT)Best 12v RV Carbon Monoxide DetectorSEE PRICE »
Safe-T-Alert Dual LP/CO Alarm (35-742-BL) Safe-T-Alert Dual LP/CO Alarm (35-742-BL)Best RV Propane and Carbon Monoxide DetectorSEE PRICE »

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First Alert RV Approved Carbon Monoxide Alarm (CO250RVA)

  • Best Battery-Powered CO Alarm

The First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm can replace the original BRK alarm that came with your RV, or it can be installed in an RV with no existing alarm.

This UL-listed, battery-operated leak detector makes it easy to install and replace the batteries, thanks to its hinged design.

It also features a tamper-resistant locking pin that locks the battery in place for added safety. This is an important feature if you rent your RV out or frequently have children in your rig (who may take the battery out to power a toy… yes, it’s happened to me).

Once activated, this alarm has a long 10-year life before it will need replacement.

Quick Alarm Guide

SignalMeaning
Four beepsCarbon monoxide alarm
One chirp per minuteReplace the battery
Three chirps per minuteMalfunction, replace the alarm
Five chirps per minuteEnd of life, replace the alarm

Key Features

  • UL Listed and approved for RV use
  • Replaces the original BRK alarm that came with your RV
  • Tamper-resistant locking pin that locks the battery in place
  • 10-year life

Specifications

  • Brand: First Alert
  • Alarm Trigger: 400 PPM within 15 minutes
  • Power Source: Battery-powered (9v battery, included)
  • Dimensions: 4.25 x 4.25 x 1.6 inches
  • RV Approved: Yes
  • Warranty: 10-year limited warranty
First Alert RV Approved Carbon Monoxide Alarm (CO250RVA)

First Alert RV Approved Carbon Monoxide Alarm (CO250RVA)

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Safe-T-Alert RV Carbon Monoxide Detector (65-542-WT)

  • Best 12v RV Carbon Monoxide Detector

The Safe-T-Alert RV Carbon Monoxide Detector is a 12v powered alarm with many features that you wouldn’t expect in a simple, easy-to-use CO alarm!

It has an 85-decibel alarm, and a visual indicator that requires a manual response (pressing the reset button) to silence it, which is important as those affected by CO poisoning are often disoriented and confused.

Furthermore, it has a warning alarm that will sound if the unit detects at least 60PPM of CO gas in your RV within 4 hours. And if there is still gas detected in your vehicle 6 minutes after the first alarm, it will sound again.

This device meets the UL standard 2034, meaning it has been tested and is safe for RV and residential use.

It has a 5-year service life and comes with a 1-year limited warranty

Quick Alarm Guide

SignalMeaning
Four beeps, then 5 seconds off with a flashing or steady red lightCarbon monoxide alarm
Beep every 25 seconds with an alternating red-green lightMalfunction, replace the alarm
Beeps every 25 to 30 seconds while flashing red, red, green, greenEnd of life, replace the alarm

Key Features

  • UL Listed and approved for RV use
  • 5-year service life
  • 12v powered, no batteries to replace
  • 85-decibel alarm along with a visual indicator that requires a manual response
  • Warning sound if the unit detects at least 60PPM of CO gas in your RV within 4 hours
  • Easy to install

Specifications

  • Brand: Safe-T-Alert by MTI Industries
  • Alarm Trigger: 400 PPM within 15 minutes
  • Power Source: 12v
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 3.5 x 1.38 inches
  • RV Approved: Yes
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Safe-T-Alert RV Carbon Monoxide Detector (65-542-WT)

Safe-T-Alert RV Carbon Monoxide Detector (65-542-WT)

Price:
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Safe-T-Alert Dual LP/CO Alarm (35-742-BL)

  • Best RV Propane and Carbon Monoxide Detector

The Safe-T-Alert 35 Series Dual LP/CO Alarm is a dual gas and carbon monoxide alarm that simultaneously detects propane and CO.

The 35 Series is built for extreme RV environments and has been tested to UL 2034 RV and UL 1484 RV standards, and meets the RVIA/NFPA requirements.

It requires a 12v power source, meaning there are no dead batteries to worry about. Just keep in mind, you’ll need to follow the wiring instructions closely to ensure power isn’t lost to the unit. Also, with dual detecting units like this, mounting location is extremely important, so read your owner’s manual carefully.

This RV carbon monoxide propane detector features a quick and easy installation, 5-year service life, and visual and audio alarms.

Quick Alarm Guide

SignalMeaning
Four beeps, then 5 seconds off with a steady red lightCarbon monoxide alarm
Constant beep with flashing red lightPropane alarm
Beep every 30 seconds with an alternating red-green lightMalfunction, replace the alarm
Beeps every 25 to 30 seconds while flashing red, red, green, greenEnd of life, replace the alarm

Key Features

  • UL Listed and approved for RV use
  • 5-year service life
  • 12v powered, no batteries to replace
  • Detects both LP gas and carbon monoxide gas
  • Easy to install

Specifications

  • Brand: Safe-T-Alert by MTI Industries
  • Alarm Trigger: 400 PPM within 15 minutes
  • Power Source: 12v
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.75 x 1.5 inches
  • RV Approved: Yes
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Safe-T-Alert Dual LP/CO Alarm (35-742-BL)

Safe-T-Alert Dual LP/CO Alarm (35-742-BL)

Price:
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RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Buyers Guide

Here’s what to look for when buying an RV carbon monoxide detector replacement for your vehicle.

Power Source

RV carbon monoxide detectors are typically powered in one of two ways – battery-powered or 12v powered. And in some cases, the unit may have both.

There are pros and cons to each type of power source. For instance, with battery-powered devices, you have more freedom to where you can place them, you don’t need to mess with the electrical system in your RV, they are easier to install, and they work whether there is power or not in your RV.

On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about removing or replacing the batteries with wired detectors.

Dual Alarm or Standalone

RV carbon monoxide detectors come in both standalone versions and dual CO and propane versions. And they even come in CO and smoke detector versions, as well.

What you choose is up to you. If all you need is a simple carbon monoxide detector, then the choice is simple.

However, you do not want to replace a dual unit with a standalone CO detector as you’ll be putting yourself at risk. If you do go that route, you’ll need to make sure you also add a stand-alone RV propane gas detector or smoke alarm (depending on what type of dual unit you are replacing) to have all of your bases covered.

Related: How to Replace an RV Carbon Monoxide Detector

RV Approved

Not all carbon monoxide detectors are tested and made for recreational vehicle use.

So, when buying a new model for your RV, be sure it is UL listed for RV use and/or meets the RVIA/NFPA requirements.

Mounting Style

RV carbon monoxide detectors come in two main mounting styles:

  • Flush-mounted: The unit mounts in a cut-out in the wall, with the top face sitting flush with the wall.
  • Surface-mounted: The alarm is mounted, typically screwed, to the surface of the wall.

Again, this choice up to you, as neither is necessarily better than the other. Some may argue that a flush mount looks “cleaner” than a surface mount. But, they also require more work unless you are replacing a flush-mounted unit.

Typically, if you’re mounting a carbon monoxide detector replacement, you will go with the mounting style that is already there.

Display

The displays on RV carbon monoxide detectors can range from none-at-all to high-quality LCD readouts that make it easy to read information such as the current CO levels, battery indicator, and an end-of-life notice.

I have never used a carbon monoxide detector or propane detector with a digital display. The beeps and chirps, along with LED indicator lights, have always been enough for me. However, if an easy-to-read display is an important feature for you, several models are out there with this capability.

FAQs

Where Should a Carbon Monoxide Detector Be Placed in an RV?

An RV carbon monoxide detector should be placed outside of the sleeping area and on a wall or ceiling at least 4 inches off the floor. Typically, your CO alarm will be mounted in the kitchen area of your RV.

Check out our guide on where to mount a carbon monoxide detector in an RV for more mounting tips (plus, where not to place the alarm).

Can You Use a Regular Carbon Monoxide Detector in an RV?

You’ll want to use a carbon monoxide detector that is designed for RV use. In other words, be sure it is UL listed for RV use and/or meets the RVIA/NFPA requirements. RV carbon monoxide detectors are placed through more stringent testing, like vibration and temperature variation tests.

How Long Do RV Carbon Monoxide Detectors Last?

RV carbon monoxide detectors will typically last between 5 to 10 years, depending on the model. For example, First Alert detectors have a service life of 10 years, Atwood CO detectors are typically rated at 7 years, while Safe-T-Alert detectors have a service life of 5 years.

Do I Need a Carbon Monoxide Detector in My Camper?

If your camper has any appliances that can emit carbon monoxide, including gas-powered generators, heaters, ranges or ovens, portable stoves, or gas water heaters, then you need a carbon monoxide detector. Even if your camper has no gas-powered items, but you are parked near one, it’s wise to have a CO detector installed.

Remember, carbon monoxide poisoning is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the U.S. So, to keep your family safe while traveling, it’s important to have a CO detector in your camper, motorhome, or any type of RV you might have.

Why Does My RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Keep Going Off?

Your RV carbon monoxide detector may keep beeping for a few reasons, including:

  • There is CO gas present
  • The detector is malfunctioning
  • The detector has reached its end of life
  • The detectors sensor is dirty, causing a false alarm

It’s important to listen to the beeps to identify what the root cause is. We cover this more in-depth in our guide titled RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Keeps Going Off? Do This!

CamperFAQs.com is reader-supported. Buying through links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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